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Looseleaf and Lingo

You know the feeling of reaching the end of summer vacation, picking up a pen and regaining your grip that has been on a vacation itself for the past few months? You begin to get your normal penmanship back and remember how your letters connect…or for those of you who print, how your letters are straight and separate. Our fingers wrap around our pens just like our feet slide into our favorite pair of sneakers. Since I was a kid, I have always loved feeling the glide of a pen on paper or an expo marker make its way across the white board Santa brought me one Christmas. Our dependence on technology has recently diminished the need for written words. In reflecting on that and revolting against it I suppose, I am writing this blog out on looseleaf paper before hitting the road running so to speak via my computer’s keyboard. It has taken me twice as long to write this short bit as it typically would when I use the help of a computer, but maybe there is more behind my words if I let them come slowly in this way? Either way, I still do love the feeling of a good pen making its mark on looseleaf.

I am sitting in the UTS Student Union tapping one foot to the sound of Tim McGraw while people watching like it is my job. My pen wanders beyond its assigned lines as my eyes remain on a crowd for one second too long. Again, another element of writing by hand. You have to watch what you’re doing! With 45 minutes between me and my last class of the day, I will give a recap of the last few days. In addition, I want to include some more little tidbits that I’ve picked up on over here (observations, differences, realizations, etc.). Ya know, another one of those lists since lists are such a natural yet effective way of writing a blog post. Since my last post, I have been taking mental notes but also physically writing notes in my planner as well of all the different things I hear and see that may be blog worthy. This is my attempt at compiling a bunch of random thoughts into something that makes the slightest bit of sense.

1.)  Australian Jargon and Lingo- Things Australians say that I had never heard in real conversation before but am really starting to get used to! On the left is the Australian term and on the right is my translation of it.

  1. “Reckon” : I think, I believe
  2. “Heaps” : lots, tons, many
  3. “Toilet”, “Loo” : Bathroom, Restroom
  4. “Yank” :  American ; I’ve heard it said as “Crazy Yank”
  5. “Swimmers”, “Togs” : bathing suit
  6. “Thongs” : Flip-Flops
  7. “Bin” : Trashcan (we say bin too, but they NEVER say trashcan—they say it’s too long)
  8. “Cheers” : Thank You
  9. “Babe” : I think it means “Miss”. Or maybe there is just this one coffee barista that calls me “Babe” every time I order a regular cappucino. Watch out, Ry…
  10. “Primary School” : elementary school
  11. “How do you go with the readings?” : What do you think of the readings? What is your interpretation of them?
  12. “Devo” : Devastated, Disappointed
  13. “Have a shower” : Take a shower
  14. “First year, second year, etc.” : Instead of freshman, sophomore, etc.
  15. *** “Dodgy” : Creepy, shady (one of my favorites)
  16. “Hey?” :  They use it in the same way that we use “Huh?” or “What?”
  17. “Alright” : When shopping for example, if there is a bargain, Brittany will say “Oh now that’s alright”. And yes, as I’m writing this, I’m saying all these words in my head with an Australian accent. The Australians I’ve met say that my Australian accent needs some work—I disagree.
  18. “I am 170 cm” :  a.k.a. I am 5 foot 7 inches tall.
  19. “It is going to be a stifling 26 degrees tomorrow!” : 26 degrees Celsius that is…. Which is 80 degrees fahrenheit.
  20. “Tomato Sauce” : pronounced “Toe-mah-toe” sauce a.k.a. ketchup

2.)  Things that are just plain different:

  1. Iced coffee is not the iced coffee I’m used to back home! It has a scoop of ice cream in it. Speaking of coffee, there is no sign of any Dunkin Donuts anywhere either.
  2. Not that I don’t learn practical skills back home, but professors here are so blunt and to the point. Instead of assigning 50 pages of reading and telling the class there will be a quiz at the end of the week, my professor taught us “how to read” what is actually important rather than the whole 50 pages. They advise us to read the assigned questions before doing the reading so we are only looking for the information we need. They really understand the mindset of a student and want to work with what our natural brain tendencies as students really are.
  3. Most words that would have a “z” in it in the states are spelled with an “s” over here. Examples, organize is spelled organise.
  4. We pronounce “z” as “zee” when we say our alphabet. Australians say “zed”. I thought Brittany was lying to me at first, but when I asked Charlie, another Australian I met to say the last 4 letters of the alphabet, he pronounced “wxyz” like this: “double-you, ex, why, zed”.
  5. Dogs are often not on leashes, whereas I feel like your dog is looked at as the most disciplined creature in the world if you can walk it without a leash back in the States.
  6. When it is warm out back home, it seems that everyone (in the Northeast at least) take full advantage. Of course, people who are going to work have to wear professional attire which is often a suit or dress pants, but even the students here have been in jeans and sweaters! It is hot people! Take advantage and wear your summer clothes so I don’t stick out like a sore thumb American every day!
  7. Converse all-stars are THE sneaker here. Also, the trends seem to be very indie. The J.Crew style I am so used to seeing is nowhere to be found.
  8. Mad Mex is the Australian form of Chipotle. I have to say I will always keep faithful to my Chipotle roots.
  9. Like I have mentioned before, everything is crazy expensive. A few things I have written down: $7 for a notebook and $3.50 for a small coffee. You never appreciate the prices of even the little things at home until you are thrown into this place were EVERYTHING seems so inflated.
  10. Geordie Shore is a popular TV show here. It is the British version of Jersey Shore and is equally embarrassing/addictive.
  11. University classes are with people of all ages. Since many Australians take a gap year to travel or work, there is a wide range of students that are young and old. Some of my classmates have shared stories about careers they have tried for a couple years and didn’t enjoy so they are coming back to uni for a second degree.
  12. Unlike many of my classmates back at PC, my classmates here are mostly first year students and already have their degree decided on. They have come into uni with their minds made. So, I have people of all different career paths in my classes. Since my schedule is filled with classes in different degrees, I have future photographers, doctors, accountants and nurses, so I have been introduced to tons of different perspectives.

Of all these aspects of life that are different over here, it is comforting to know that there are still things very much the same. For example, I know that home is exactly the same since my brother told me that Mom made cookies and he was in the process of eating one. My jealousy was through the roof. I think about the people associated with home very often, but never in a homesick kind of way. Earlier today, for some odd reason my house’s wireless server popped up and asked me to join. I went to print something off my laptop today and the one placed in the corner of our living room showed up as an option. Little things like that remind me of home but always in a very good way…reminding me that it will be the same in just a few months when I return home.

But before then, there are tons of exciting things happening here in Sydney that I am SO looking forward to. St. Patrick’s Day is quickly approaching as well as turning 21 and going to Surf Camp for a weekend. Easter weekend will be spent at Brittany’s house in the country about 3 hours from here. Her mom already warned me of the Easter egg hunt that takes place! And then onto New Zealand for spring break and Ryan’s long awaited visit at the beginning of May. So lucky, so thankful and so excited for what’s to come, although my time here has already been full of adventure and lasting memories.


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